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Review: Fiat 500L

November 15, 2013

Since its launch in 2007, over 1 million Fiat 500s have been sold. Which begs the question: when you’ve come up with a model that’s successful, is there really any need to mess with the formula? Well, the guys at Fiat certainly think so – which is why, in addition to the nippy little three-door Fiat 500, we now get the longer, wider and taller five-door Fiat 500L. But is this a brilliant addition to the 500 brand, or a lumbering mess that nobody really wants or needs?

The great thing about the Fiat 500 was its low price, low running costs and low emissions, making it one of the cheapest, most efficient and most eco-friendly small cars on the market. By taking that popular design and making it bigger and heavier in order to suit the small family car market, Fiat have risked losing all the things that made the 500 a success to begin with.

The good news is that the Fiat 500L, while definitely a different beast from its sister model, is a brilliant car in its own right. The slightly chunkier look of the 500L really works, giving us a meatier, more grown-up look, but still maintaining some of the 500’s playful style. It’s just as nice on the inside, being one of the most spacious-feeling Mini MPVs around, with an especially nice flow between the front and rear seats, making this great for families. It has big, clear dials and controls that suit the generally oversized design well – and the dashboard comes with the now obligatory touchscreen infotainment system we’d be lost without.

The 500L is not without its downsides, however. As you might expect from an upsized 500 with a somewhat undersized range of engines, acceleration is poor and the top speed is nothing to write home about. It’s also a pretty firm ride, which some won’t appreciate, especially if you’re using this as a small family car. It also costs over twice as much as the standard Fiat 500, pushing this firmly out of the cheap car range.

That said, there’s loads of space inside, with plenty of legroom and headroom for all but the tallest of occupants – and the boot is a decent size, with loads of clever little storage solutions to boost the 500L’s practicality. For the safety conscious, the 500L has also managed to match the top five-star EuroNCAP’s safety rating of the standard Fiat 500, making this a reassuring option for parents. It also does okay on the fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness fronts, managing a respectable 60.1mpg and 122g/km of CO2 with the largest 1.6 litre diesel engine.

Overall, this is a great little Mini MPV with a lot of great features for those buying their first family car – just don’t expect to be winning any drag races or taking it down too many rough country lanes (especially not with the kids in the back).

 

Price: From £19,590

Released: 2013

Engine: 0-9 litre TwinAir Turbo petrol up to 1.6 litre Multijet diesel

Transmission: five-speed manual, five-speed semi-automatic and six-speed manual or automatic

Top speed: 109mph (for the 1.6 litre diesel version)

Acceleration: 0-62.1mph in 12 seconds (for the 1.6 litre diesel version)

Fuel Economy: 60.1mpg (1.6 litre diesel)

CO2 Output: 122g/km (1.6 litre diesel)

VED Band: 1.6 litrediesel: C(£30 annual rate, £0 for first 12 months)

Dimensions: 4,140mm long by 1780mm wide by 1,660mm tall

If you’re looking to take the step up from small city car to Mini MPV while sticking with a brand you can rely on, the Fiat 500L could just be the perfect choice for you. To find a fiat finance option that suits you, let the experts at The Car Loan Warehouse help find the money you need at a rate you can afford. It’s car finance, without the hassle.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.